Russia Resumes Pork Exports to China After 15-Year Ban

In a significant development, Russia has successfully sent its first pork exports to China since 2008, marking the end of a 15-year ban imposed by Beijing due to concerns over African Swine Fever (ASF). The shipment of 27 tonnes of Russian pork occurred on March 7, 2024, following the lifting of restrictions by China in September 2023.

Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary service, Rosselkhoznadzor, played a pivotal role in monitoring the shipment and highlighted ongoing efforts to open up the Chinese market for Russian pork in recent years.

The ban on Russian pork was initially implemented in 2008 due to the presence of ASF. However, with the lifting of restrictions, Russia aims to secure a share in the world’s largest meat-importing market. China, being both the top producer and importer of pork globally, presents a lucrative opportunity for Russian exporters.

Russia’s pork industry has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past two decades, evolving from complete dependence on imports to achieving self-sufficiency. Last year, Russia exported approximately 255,000 tonnes of pork, reflecting a remarkable 66% increase from the previous year, according to the agriculture ministry.

The Russian National Union of Pig Breeders has set an ambitious goal for Russia to capture about 5% of the Chinese pork import market. This move aligns with Russia’s strategic pivot towards China amid heightened tensions with the West, particularly in the aftermath of the Ukraine conflict.

Despite Western sanctions affecting various aspects of Russia’s international relations, trade between Russia and China has experienced a significant surge, reaching a record $240 billion last year. This trade boost has allowed Russia to diversify its economic ties and reduce reliance on traditional Western partners.

As Russia enters the Chinese pork market, global dynamics are also shifting. The U.S. Department of Agriculture revised down its forecast for global pork production in 2024, citing a 1% decrease to 114.2 million tons. This adjustment is attributed to lower output in key players such as China, the European Union, and Brazil, as these countries increasingly compete for a share of China’s pork imports.